Category: Majors

Scholarship Spotlight: Stephenson National Bank and Trust Annual Scholarship Award

The Michigan Tech College of Business boasts more than 50 donor- and industry-sponsored scholarships reserved exclusively for new and returning business students. These awards are offered in addition to competitive, merit-, and need-based aid. For 2020-21, total scholarships and grants awarded to undergraduate students in the College of Business exceeded $4.6 million.

This month we highlight the Stephenson National Bank and Trust Annual Scholarship Award.

The Stephenson National Bank and Trust Annual Scholarship Award, valued at $2,000, is available to incoming first-year Michigan Tech College of Business students majoring in finance who have earned a minimum GPA of 3.0. Additional criteria include being a US citizen and having graduated from one of the following high schools of the Upper Peninsula or northeastern Wisconsin: Oconto, Marinette, Delta, Baraga, Houghton, Marquette, or Menominee.

Mike Kolasa

In this Q&A, we hear from Mike Kolasa, vice president and trust officer for the Marquette, Michigan, office of Stephenson National Bank and Trust, headquartered in Marinette, Wisconsin. Kolasa is also an instructor of personal finance planning in the College of Business.  

Q: How did the Stephenson National Bank and Trust (SNBT) Annual Scholarship Award come to be?

SNBT has several core values, one of which is supporting communities and institutions where we do business, including the Copper Country. We also believe in a strong work ethic, self-responsibility, and entrepreneurship. The College of Business is a natural fit for us to support, as we have overlapping geography and values.

Q: Why is supporting students through college scholarships important to Stephenson National Bank and Trust?

I wasn’t poor growing up, but we could see it from the back porch. Scholarships made a big difference for me. We want to encourage successful students who might not otherwise pursue business degrees. Besides, we want to hire some of the best students that I teach!

Q: By day you work in the financial services industry, and by night you teach the foundation of finance to the next generation of advisors. How does your work influence your teaching?

In my experience, academic texts are valid, but can be esoteric, and students may not learn as effectively. By mixing in stories from the industry, students can attach their new knowledge to applied and practical situations. As a result, I believe they retain that knowledge and have an advantage when embarking on their careers.

I tell my students they can be in the top 10 percent of their field, or the bottom 90 percent. Getting into the top bracket takes deliberate effort, but the rewards that go with it are theirs for the shaping.

I tell my students they can be in the top 10 percent of their field, or the bottom 90 percent.

Mike Kolasa, instructor, Michigan Tech College of Business


Q: The College of Business prides itself on preparing students for the technology needs of business. How is technology disrupting the world of finance?

Technology can be both wonderful and evil. It certainly lends itself to efficiency, but we need to remember we buy technology to serve us, not the other way around. I see too many advisors using technology as a crutch or substitute for old-fashioned common sense and in-person time with clients.

We need to remember we buy technology to serve us, not the other way around.

Mike Kolasa, instructor, Michigan Tech College of Business


Q: What are key takeaways college students should consider regarding their own personal finance?

Students and new graduates should consider their own finances first. Utilizing a budget and spending less than they make is a solid lifestyle that will give them flexibility in their future. It also sets them up as credible advisors; if you’re not practicing the basics yourself, no one is going to respect your advice. Beyond that, continuing education, which can look like advanced degrees, new professional designations, or simply reading a few business books a year, is a must. My goal is to have our students be in the top tier of whatever career they pursue, and staying fresh with knowledge is critical.

Prospective students who qualify for the Stephenson National Bank and Trust Annual Scholarship Award should connect with Shannon Rinkinen, director of outreach for the Michigan Tech College of Business, at smrinkin@mtu.edu.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

Collegiate DECA at MTU: Reactivated and Ready to Go!

(Photo: Left to right: Jaylen Body, Madelyn Carey, Rachel Weyenberg, Lexi Dembrowski, Katie Draves, Madison Mattila, Zach Hooper, and Sammy Perrone)

By Jaylen Body, Michigan Tech management student and DECA club president

After a five-year hiatus, Collegiate DECA has been reactivated on the campus of Michigan Technological University, and members are gearing up to hit the road for their first State Career Development Conference February 4-6.

Collegiate DECA is a program that prepares emerging leaders in the areas of finance, marketing, hospitality, management, and entrepreneurship. It’s for students interested in not just problem solving, but business problem solving. Participants engage in competitive events where they’re faced with business problems reflective of real-life situations in industry, and are challenged to develop innovative solutions before presenting their ideas to industry professionals. In addition to competitions, students can dive into Collegiate DECA challenges, like the Stock Market Game or the Virtual Case Simulation—an interactive, browser-based simulation allowing students to take charge of a virtual business environment.

This month, members of MTU DECA, advised by Jenny Apriesnig, assistant professor of economics, are preparing to attend the State Career Development Conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where six Huskies will participate in individual and team competitive events. To kick off preparations, the group invited College of Business accounting and DECA alumna Katie Draves to inspire current members.

Detailing her experiences, Draves credits DECA for being an organization that has “something for everyone,” explaining that no matter the area of study, DECA is an organization anyone can get involved in.

Speaking on the career benefits of being in DECA, she promises students that they’ll learn to be well rounded and prepared for different situations, and will gain exposure to valuable networking opportunities.

When asked for tips and advice on how members participating in the state conference can succeed, Draves says, “Get to know your strengths and weaknesses,” but most importantly, she encourages students to learn from their unique experiences while competing.

“Get to know your strengths and weaknesses.”

Katie Draves, Michigan Tech alumna

Thinking about the upcoming opportunity, first-year marketing student Sammy Perrone says: “I hope to make connections, build relationships, and gain knowledge and skills that will help me build a foundation for my college and career endeavors.”

“I hope to make connections, build relationships, and gain knowledge and skills that will help me build a foundation for my college and career endeavors.”

Sammy Perrone, Michigan Tech marketing student

Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA welcomes new members of all majors. The group is a good fit for students looking to get involved in a professional organization that applies classroom material to real business problems. Follow along on Instagram @mtu_deca.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

Marketing Internship Success Story

Jaxon Verhoff

Third-year Michigan Tech marketing student Jaxon Verhoff has received four internship offers from industry-leading companies—General Motors, Kimberly Clark, Caterpillar, and Dow Chemical. 

“My offers are due in large part to the opportunities the College of Business has made available to me,” Verhoff says. Some of the most valuable career-shaping experience, he says, has been interacting with alumni, student organization activities and competitions, projects, and technology incorporation into curriculum.

While all four companies would offer valuable marketing internship experience, Verhoff settled on Dow Chemical, where he’ll serve as a digital marketing analyst intern, because of its proximity to his hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin. His top internship goal? Soaking in all that working at a large company has to offer.

“I am going to have the opportunity to meet and interact with many people company-wide, so I will be asking questions and learning from professionals.”

Jaxon Verhoff, Michigan Tech marketing student

In addition, Verhoff will have his hand in projects, getting to apply and build upon classroom knowledge.

Verhoff participated in Michigan Tech’s Career Fairs to gain the internship opportunities. In fall 2020, he met virtually with as many companies as possible to get his name out there. By fall of this year, he met again with some of the same recruiters who remembered him and were able to track his personal and professional growth.

“Jaxon has followed our success formula. He has continued to apply for an internship until he gets it.”

Junhong “Jun” Min, Michigan Tech professor of marketing
Jaxon, second from top left, chilling post-class with his broomball team

Long term, Verhoff is after a sense of career fulfillment. The people he surrounds himself with, the company culture he immerses himself in, and the projects he leads, he says, all lend themselves toward the feeling of making a difference, making an impact—that he’s ultimately looking to achieve. “Success and a great salary are important, but feeling fulfilled is what’s most important to me,” he adds.

Before he heads off to Dow, Verhoff, who is a senior residential assistant, is eager to continue working toward goals as president of the American Marketing Association group on campus. “We are developing meaningful connections with industry professionals, faculty, and students, while deepening our digital marketing skills through data analysis, case studies, and competitions.”

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

Scholarship Spotlight: Management Information Systems Alumni Scholarship

campus drone shot

The Michigan Tech College of Business (COB) boasts more than 50 donor- and industry-sponsored scholarships reserved exclusively for new and returning business students. These awards are offered in addition to competitive, merit-, and need-based aid. For 2020-21, total scholarships and grants awarded to undergraduate students in the College of Business exceeded $4.6 million.

This month we highlight the Management Information Systems (MIS) Alumni Scholarship.

MIS Alumni Scholarship

Joseph Gherardi
Joseph Gherardi

The MIS Alumni Scholarship is an endowed scholarship created and funded by College of Business MIS graduates. Selection criteria include being an MIS major (or dual major) with a strong academic standing, a demonstrated commitment to the degree program, and professional communication skills.

One of two 2021-22 recipients of the MIS Alumni Scholarship is Joseph Gherardi. The third-year MIS student is active on campus as the assistant general manager for Sound and Lighting Services as well as a residence counselor for Summer Youth Programs. Gherardi chose MIS in part for its versatility; he says that he’s particularly fascinated by database management and security. “Working in IT for a hospital sounds like a lot of fun to me,” Gherardi says.

“Working in IT for a hospital sounds like a lot of fun to me,”

Joseph Gherardi, student

Two, one-time scholarships are awarded annually by the faculty committee; the sophomore award is valued at $1,000 and the junior-level scholarship is $2,000. Jeff Wall, associate professor of management information systems, says that Joseph’s focus and curiosity in class and involvement on campus helps him stand out. “He is the type of student every professor hopes for—he’s full of thoughtful questions and reflects deeply on complex material. Joseph has a bright future,” Wall adds. 

Management Information Systems at Michigan Tech

Pandemic-related workforce challenges really drove home how crucial information systems and technology are to industry, education, and entertainment. The Management Information Systems major at Michigan Tech helps meet the need—the 10 percent projected job demand through 2029 is much faster than average. In the College of Business, the major has already experienced incredible growth, doubling enrollment since 2012.

Responding to industry demand, recent changes to the MIS curriculum at Michigan Tech deepen the technical nature of the program. Huskies studying MIS can now specialize in cloud computing, data analytics, and machine learning.

Huskies studying MIS can now specialize in cloud computing, data analytics, and machine learning.

To support more future MTU students entering the major, alumni and friends can contribute to and grow the MIS Alumni Scholarship (please indicate fund number 4994 with your gift.) Questions related to the MIS Alumni Scholarship may be directed to business@mtu.edu.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

MTU Business Student is No. 1 Army ROTC Cadet in US

Michigan Tech Army ROTC
It’s mission complete for the Ranger Challenge Teams of the Michigan Tech 1st Arctic Warriors Battalion

Caleb Grulke, an engineering management major in the Michigan Technological University College of Business, is the number-one ranked Army ROTC cadet in the nation. As battalion commander of the 1st Arctic Warriors Battalion of the Michigan Tech Army ROTC, Cadet Lt. Col. Grulke credits the multidisciplinary nature of his major—business blended with engineering—and the guidance of his cadre for the opportunity. “The lessons I’m learning in the College of Business apply to every task at hand, even military tasks,” says the Waukesha, Wisconsin, native. 

Cadet Lt. Col. Caleb Grulke
Cadet Lt. Col. Caleb Grulke

This year, 3,762 ROTC cadets from 260 ROTC programs were selected to be assessed for active duty in the US Army. Grulke’s 4.0 GPA, superb performance at summer training, participation in extracurricular activities, and leadership ability were factors contributing to his ranking.

Maj. Daniel Gwosch, department chair and professor of military science for Michigan Tech ROTC, says the ranking is deserved. “Caleb is a gifted leader and the heart of our battalion,” says Gwosch. “His enthusiasm and drive are infectious and are why we experienced a 200 percent increase in first-year enrollment and a 300 percent increase in ROTC scholarship candidates committing to Tech this fall.”

“Caleb is a gifted leader and the heart of our battalion.”

Maj. Daniel Gwosch

Gwosch adds: “This is a great honor for him and something our whole program is excited about because it validates how hard the cadets work. It’s not easy to wake up in the early morning hours, but cadets like Caleb do it with a smile.”

The commanding general of Cadet Command will officially announce Grulke as the top cadet when the accessions process for the roughly 7,500 cadets in active duty, National Guard, and reserve officer status concludes in December.

Dean Johnson, dean of the Michigan Tech College of Business, is eager to see what comes next in Grulke’s future. “To rise to the top of an already highly selected group of individuals is an impressive accomplishment,” says Johnson. “He has accomplished so much already and more awaits him through his hard work and leadership.

We are very proud to have Caleb represent us!” 

Dean Johnson

Both the Army and Air Force have active ROTC programs on Michigan Tech’s campus. Since 1917, the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps has prepared Huskies to be US military officers. The in-college officer-commissioning program is a path toward a college education and a headstart to a military career related to a field of study. 

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.